We are months away from the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X. While there are some things that we don’t know for sure quite yet (like the price and release date for each), there is a lot that we either know or can guess at the moment. While there is going to be some heavily speculative parts to this list, there are a lot of things to consider.
As much as I love Xbox, PlayStation has always knocked the exclusives out of the park. Just the fact that they’re bringing in more Spider-man material, a sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, and a Demon Souls remake is selling me on the console. That’s just an absolute short list. While Microsoft does have some solid exclusives, with the potential to grow, this is something that the PlayStation will win, at least at the start of the generation.
Winning Console Design
As much as people like lampooning the designs of both the PS5 and Xbox Series X, the design of the PS5 is just more creative. Sure, it doesn’t look like a console, but it is a striking design that seems to be able to double as a work of modern art. Xbox Series X just looks like a mini-PC tower, which is fine, but uninspired. The design is a bit of a double-edged sword, which will be addressed later.
Winning Gamepad Design
While I do usually prefer the Xbox gamepad, the changes for the DualSense offers a lot of innovation. Coupled with the innovation, the revised form factor that resembles a bit more of an Xbox gamepad means that the comfort of using the gamepad will be consistent throughout. Innovation coupled with the revised form factor does make it stand out in a big way from not only previous generations, but also its competition.
In terms of the specs, this is the only area that the PS5 has a concrete advantage without looking at the different behind-the-scenes trickery with things like compression. The quicker SSD on its own will lead to quicker load times than the Xbox Series X. This win is a narrow one for the PS5 though, as the benefits will be more toward exclusives as seen with the Spider-Man demo, but why it’s a narrow victory will come soon.
Winning Effective Communication
While Microsoft has done more throughout the year to try to promote the Series X, PlayStation’s comparative silence has worked a bit better. This is because they were able to spend more time crafting the message and making sure that their tech talk stood out more to developers and their reveal hit harder. Microsoft has been a bit of a mixed bag doing well enough to convince people planning to upgrade, but not well enough for others…yet.
Just looking at the power of the Xbox Series X versus the PS5, Lockhart not considered, here’s where the PS5’s issues pop up. While the PS5 has a quicker SSD, Microsoft has the higher CPU and GPU clock speeds as higher bandwidth RAM and VRAM. This means that while loading might be a bit shorter in some regards on the PS5, any multiplatform games will run better on the Series X.
Losing Backwards Compatibility
Microsoft has already confirmed that any non-Kinect game runnable on the Xbox One will work on the Series X. Not only that, the Series X will boost performance of previous generations natively. They’re also working on expanding the backward compatibility with the original Xbox and Xbox 360. PlayStation has only announced PS4 compatibility with the PS5, but not its extent yet.
Microsoft is going to have more power in a more compact frame. This means that the Series X will be less space consuming and will likely end up being the favored people who live in smaller apartments and on smaller entertainment centers. PS5, while it seems thinner, is taller and more awkwardly shaped, which means that it’ll lose out in instances where desk/shelf/floor space is at a premium.
While PlayStation has gotten better with this, Microsoft still comes out ahead as all their potential subscription services (Xbox Live Gold, GamePass for Console, GamePass for PC, and soon-to-be xCloud) will fall under the single subscription of Xbox GamePass Ultimate. PlayStation requires two subscription for most of that functionality. Smart Delivery is also a great touch with the Series X that ensures you only need to purchase one copy of cross-gen games.
The PS4 was the first PlayStation to be profitable from a manufacturing standpoint in the history of PlayStation. I doubt that they’ll give that up, but Sony could surprise me. I expect the disc-based PS5 to be at least $500. Microsoft has a bigger warchest. Peripherals and subscriptions would make back anything lost . Coupled with that, again, Smart Delivery.